Review Summary: An essential for post hardcore fans that enjoy a fair share of singing. This could easily be a 4.5 but I think these guys can do better with a full length.
How many times have you heard a post hardcore record begin with an a cappella song? Your answer is probably none. Artifex Pereo, on the other hand, doesn’t follow the rules, and they start out their EP nonetheless with a multi-harmony vocal arrangement…and they pull it off better than one can imagine. Now this is no The Dear Hunter type old school a cappella, but something that sounds more influenced by artists like Seal. The vocals will take your breath away, and leave you wishing it was at least over a minute long.
While the tone of this record seems very two dimensional, (screaming and heavy guitars being one dimension, and clean tone with heavy reverb and singing being the other) Artifex Pereo makes up for it with their incredibly clever song structures. They show off their transitional abilities with the dynamically aggressive Posture and Progress, weaving in and out of breakdowns and softer guitar parts with delay and what I presume to be tapping. That song will keep your head moving.
With guitar leads comparable to Oceana’s “The Tide,” raspy yelling, and magnified drum accenting in Cylinder Shaped World, you will find yourself wondering what other tricks these guys have up there sleeve. Don’t worry, there is plenty more gold to be found in this EP.
The Hunt begins with a rhythmically simple drum part leading perfectly into an eerie guitar part. Then comes the epic. An explosion of unpredictable yet aurally pleasing chords juxtaposed with a simple, slow drumbeat is the perfect match to the fantastic clean vocals. Then it quiets down once again, with the playful, hi-hat happy drumbeat being the best drumming moment on the EP. This song is one of the best songs on here…but not the strongest.
Artifex brought their A game with The Lantern and the Firefly. A haunting clean tone guitar riff sets the stage that helps the singer oh-so perfectly carry the torch to one of the best moments I have heard in music…period. It is a simple set of two guitar chords, back and forth…STOP! Silence. A breath is taken, and we get right back to where we left off. It shouldn’t make sense, but it makes perfect sense. This time, during the back and forth chords, the singer yells the most memorable lines of the album,”Oh, mother what have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
The biggest strength of this EP is the flow of it. Or Am I Dead builds tension that leads well into Posture and Progress, which is the highest energy song on the CD. Then the strongest song of it comes up next, so there is obviously no complaint there. Cylinder Shaped World keeps things going but isn’t special amongst the rest of the CD, other than the badass yelling part. The most flowing song in this collection, The Hunt, keeps the listeners attention during the very important middle of the album that most people forget. The album is capped off in a great way, by showing the softer, more melancholic side of Pereo in Neighbors. With an effectively redundant guitar riff, and soft piano chords, the bridge is built to get us to the climax of the EP. This is the heaviest part (though it is not heavy really) of Neighbors, where the guitar is distorted, and the singer truly shines.
This album is a must listen for just about any post hardcore fan, and I personally can’t wait for the new Artifex Pereo LP coming soon.